swissinfo.ch: How is such a visit seen by other governments?
François Nordmann: It is not only a strong signal to other countries but also to the wider public. As foreign minister Calmy-Rey is also in charge of Switzerland’s development and humanitarian aid.Several international organisations, including the United Nations and the High Commissioner for Refugees are trying to mobilise countries to help alleviate the dramatic situation.Calmy-Rey’s visit can only help raise awareness of the humanitarian disaster underway in the region.
swissinfo.ch: Does such a visit have a concrete impact on the organisation and provision of humanitarian aid?
F.N.: President Calmy-Rey put it like this: The visit was the chance to form an impression of the situation on the ground.
Switzerland has already contributed more than SFr14 million ($18 million) in aid for the victims of the crisis. The visit to the camp is perfectly legitimate because it allows an assessment of the impact of Swiss aid so far. It will also be helpful to organise it in the most efficient way possible.
swissinfo.ch: What is the likely impact on Switzerland’s foreign policy?
No doubt the crisis in Africa will be tabled for the next meeting of the UN General Assembly.
But the visit was also an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations between Kenya and Switzerland.